Wieland or the Transformation
The inhabitants of the HUT received me with a mixture of joy and surprize. Their homely
welcome, and their artless sympathy, were grateful to my feelings. In the midst of their
inquiries, as to my health, they avoided all allusions to the source of my malady. They
were honest creatures, and I loved them well. I participated in the tears which they shed
when I mentioned to them my speedy departure for Europe, and promised to acquaint
them with my welfare during my long absence.
They expressed great surprize when I informed them of my intention to visit my cottage.
Alarm and foreboding overspread their features, and they attempted to dissuade me from
visiting an house which they firmly believed to be haunted by a thousand ghastly
These apprehensions, however, had no power over my conduct. I took an irregular path
which led me to my own house. All was vacant and forlorn. A small enclosure, near
which the path led, was the burying-ground belonging to the family. This I was obliged to
pass. Once I had intended to enter it, and ponder on the emblems and inscriptions which
my uncle had caused to be made on the tombs of Catharine and her children; but now my
heart faltered as I approached, and I hastened forward, that distance might conceal it from
When I approached the recess, my heart again sunk. I averted my eyes, and left it behind
me as quickly as possible. Silence reigned through my habitation, and a darkness which
closed doors and shutters produced. Every object was connected with mine or my
brother's history. I passed the entry, mounted the stair, and unlocked the door of my
chamber. It was with difficulty that I curbed my fancy and smothered my fears. Slight
movements and casual sounds were transformed into beckoning shadows and calling
I proceeded to the closet. I opened and looked round it with fearfulness. All things were
in their accustomed order. I sought and found the manuscript where I was used to deposit
it. This being secured, there was nothing to detain me; yet I stood and contemplated
awhile the furniture and walls of my chamber. I remembered how long this apartment had
been a sweet and tranquil asylum; I compared its former state with its present dreariness,
and reflected that I now beheld it for the last time.
Here it was that the incomprehensible behaviour of Carwin was witnessed: this the stage
on which that enemy of man shewed himself for a moment unmasked. Here the menaces
of murder were wafted to my ear; and here these menaces were executed.
These thoughts had a tendency to take from me my self-command. My feeble limbs
refused to support me, and I sunk upon a chair. Incoherent and half-articulate